MKFIFO(1P) POSIX Programmer's Manual MKFIFO(1P)

This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

mkfifo — make FIFO special files

mkfifo [-m mode] file...

The mkfifo utility shall create the FIFO special files specified by the operands, in the order specified.

For each file operand, the mkfifo utility shall perform actions equivalent to the mkfifo() function defined in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2017, called with the following arguments:

The file operand is used as the path argument.
The value of the bitwise-inclusive OR of S_IRUSR, S_IWUSR, S_IRGRP, S_IWGRP, S_IROTH, and S_IWOTH is used as the mode argument. (If the -m option is specified, the value of the mkfifo() mode argument is unspecified, but the FIFO shall at no time have permissions less restrictive than the -m mode option-argument.)

The mkfifo utility shall conform to the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines.

The following option shall be supported:

Set the file permission bits of the newly-created FIFO to the specified mode value. The mode option-argument shall be the same as the mode operand defined for the chmod utility. In the symbolic_mode strings, the op characters '+' and '-' shall be interpreted relative to an assumed initial mode of a=rw.

The following operand shall be supported:

A pathname of the FIFO special file to be created.

Not used.


The following environment variables shall affect the execution of mkfifo:

Provide a default value for the internationalization variables that are unset or null. (See the Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Section 8.2, Internationalization Variables for the precedence of internationalization variables used to determine the values of locale categories.)
If set to a non-empty string value, override the values of all the other internationalization variables.
Determine the locale for the interpretation of sequences of bytes of text data as characters (for example, single-byte as opposed to multi-byte characters in arguments).

Determine the locale that should be used to affect the format and contents of diagnostic messages written to standard error.
Determine the location of message catalogs for the processing of LC_MESSAGES.


Not used.

The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.



The following exit values shall be returned:

All the specified FIFO special files were created successfully.
An error occurred.


The following sections are informative.



This utility was added to permit shell applications to create FIFO special files.

The -m option was added to control the file mode, for consistency with the similar functionality provided by the mkdir utility.

Early proposals included a -p option similar to the mkdir -p option that created intermediate directories leading up to the FIFO specified by the final component. This was removed because it is not commonly needed and is not common practice with similar utilities.

The functionality of mkfifo is described substantially through a reference to the mkfifo() function in the System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2017. For example, by default, the mode of the FIFO file is affected by the file mode creation mask in accordance with the specified behavior of the mkfifo() function. In this way, there is less duplication of effort required for describing details of the file creation.


chmod, umask

The Base Definitions volume of POSIX.1‐2017, Chapter 8, Environment Variables, Section 12.2, Utility Syntax Guidelines

The System Interfaces volume of POSIX.1‐2017, mkfifo()

Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1-2017, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7, 2018 Edition, Copyright (C) 2018 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The original Standard can be obtained online at .

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2017 IEEE/The Open Group